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In cases of compromise, continuation of the criminal case would result in great prejudice: Bombay High Court

Offences arising out of matrimony are personal in nature and the parties are seeking to resolve their entire dispute. In case of compromise between the husband and wife, the possibility of conviction would be remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would result in great prejudice and/or injustice. A division bench of S.S. SHINDE & ABHAY AHUJA, JJ; while adjudicating the matter in Yuvraj Raman Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra; [CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.2053 OF 2021] dealt with the issue of whether to proceed with a criminal proceeding when there is a conciliation between the parties.

Petitioner No.1 and Respondent No.2 were husband and wife, whose marriage was solemnized on 10th January, 2017, as per Hindu rites and rituals. However, as differences arose between the parties, divorce petition was filed before the Family Court at Bandra, which was later on converted into mutual consent divorce petition under Section 13 -B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. It is submitted that during the pendency of the criminal matter, Petitioner No.1 and Respondent No.2 have settled their matrimonial dispute amicably and have decided to dissolve their marriage by fling consent terms dated 3rd April, 2021 before the Family Court at Bandra upon the terms and conditions contained therein. The respondent filed an affidavit stating “I say that, during the pendency of these proceedings before the Hon’ble Family Court and the Hon’ble Magistrate Court, I and the Petitioners have arrived at an amicable settlement with regard to the property and have entered into a consent terms which is fled before the Hon’ble Family Court at Bandra on 3rd April, 2021 (“Consent Terms”). I say that I repeat, reiterate and confirm that I want to amicably resolve the matter and bring an end to the criminal proceedings emanating from the FIR. I further state, that the pending Marriage Petition filed by the Petitioner No.1 is now converted into Mutual Consent Petition on the basis of the Consent Terms fled.”

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts quoted an excerpt from the case of Gian Singh v. State of Punjab & Anr; wherein it was stated that But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and pre-dominatingly civil favour stand on different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In this category of cases, High Court may quash criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between the offender and victim, the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of criminal case would put accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim. In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding” and thus disposed off the writ petition.

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